IBM Goes For High Performance, Capacity, Availability In New All-Flash Storage Family

IBM Thursday expanded its highest-end all-flash storage array family with three new models targeting mainframe customers and other users with strict uptime requirements.

The expanded DS8880 family of all-flash arrays bring true high availability to flash storage, with six nines, or 99.9999 percent, uptime, or no more than about 5 seconds of downtime in a year, said Eric Herzog, chief marketing officer and vice president of marketing and management for IBM storage and software-defined infrastructure.

The original member of the family, the DSS8888F, started shipping last spring, targeting business-critical applications that require six nines of availability, Herzog told CRN.

[Related: The 10 Coolest Flash Storage And SSD Products Of 2016]

Sponsored post

The expanded DS8880 family extends IBM's all-flash storage portfolio from its entry-level and midrange IBM Spectrum Virtualize Storwize family to its high-performance IBM Spectrum Accelerate A9000 family to its IBM Spectrum Scale DeepFlash 150 big data solution to the mission-critical DS8880s, Herzog said.

Flash storage has now become ubiquitous in businesses from entry level to the mainframe, he said. "Whatever the server infrastructure is, whatever the workload, we have all-flash storage for it," he said. "One flash array no longer serves every need."

IBM, Armonk, N.Y., is replacing its original DS8888F with three new models, all of which are based on the IBM Power Systems server and feature 99.9999 percent availability along with FICON connectivity for mainframe environments and Fibre Channel connectivity for non-mainframe mission-critical systems, Herzog said.

The DS8884F business-class offering scales from 6.4 TB to 154 TB of flash capacity, and comes with 256 GB of DRAM cache and 32 Fibre Channel and FICON ports. The DS8886F enterprise-class offering scales from 6.4 TB to 614 TB of flash capacity, and is configured with 128 TB of DRAM cache and 128 Fibre Channel and FICON ports. The analytics-class DS8888F scales from 6.4 TB to 1.22 petabytes of flash storage capacity, and has 2 TB of cache and 128 Fibre Channel and FICON ports.

Stan Wysocki, vice president of Mark III Systems, a Houston-based solution provider and IBM channel partner, said the new DS8880 family of all-flash arrays will find a home with his company's health-care customers who rely on IBM Power-based servers for their mission-critical applications.

Having six nines of availability is important for the health-care market, Wysocki told CRN. "A lot of what customers look for is the comfort level of the solution," he said. "Customers use these systems for seven to eight years. They like the ultra-low latency of flash storage combined with IBM's resiliency and ridiculous amount of redundancy. In health care, this is important. If the electronic medical records system goes down, it could impact patients' lives."

The three models in the DS8880 family meet three different and important capacity and price points, Wysocki said. "No one will install one all-flash array for every need," he said. "Some workloads are suitable for midrange storage, some for high performance. But for mission-critical storage, the DS family is the preferred platform."